FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The man who fatally shot his friend after drinking and playing billiards at a Fort Wayne bar last year has been sentenced.

An Allen County judge on Friday sentenced John L. Vires to 75 years in the shooting death of William Erhardt at a home in the 1600 block of Franklin Avenue in the early hours of Sept. 21, 2021.

John Vires

Police and medics were called just after 1 a.m. to the area of Franklin Avenue and Spring Street, just north of downtown Fort Wayne, on reports of a subject armed with a gun.

A caller told police that a man entered a home in the area and fired a gun.

When officers got to the scene, they were directed to a home in the 1600 block of Franklin Avenue. Inside, they found Erhardt suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The Allen County Coroner said Erhardt died of a gunshot wound to the chest and his death was ruled a homicide.

According to a probable cause affidavit, officers at the scene detained Vires, who told them “I had to shoot him.”

In an interview with police, Vires said he had gone to A&O Bar on High Street with Erhardt to play pool and have some drinks. Vires said at one point in the night, he went outside to smoke, and Erhardt followed him and began punching him in the face, the affidavit said.

Vires said he drove Erhardt back to his home, and they both went inside and they began to argue.

Vires said he got his gun from his bedroom so “Bill would not be able to hit him anymore,” the affidavit said. Vires said he shot Erhardt once, when he was three to five feet away from him.

Vires said he told Erhardt he was sorry for shooting him and that it was his fault, the affidavit said. Vires then called police for help, the affidavit said.